The Spirit of Mathematics Algebra and All That by David Acheson, reviewed

We look at this quirky and enjoyable book by David Acheson. The Spirit of Mathematics, Algebra and All That is published by Oxford University Press and you can see more about it here. Hardback | £14.99 | 192 Pages |9780192845085 New from the bestselling author of The Calculus Story and The Wonder Book of Geometry.

The Spirit of Mathematics Algebra and All That by David Acheson, reviewed

This is a fun, visual, thought provoking read. The goal is naturally to get more people interested in maths, and overall this book feels like a success in terms of achieving this goal. The examples are deeply practical and relevant, drawn from many real world scenarios. The pace is fast and not lingering too long on any one topic. We have teens that we think would potentially enjoy reading this book, which is surely one of the intended demographics. It works well and hopefully it does inspire more people to have an interest in maths, and to also understand the beauty and fascinating aspects of what maths can do and help you to achieve.

A good read, well worth reading, and a nice stocking filler or birthday surprise for the mathematically curious in the family.

More about The Spirit of Mathematics

Why is infinity so dangerous?

How can algebra help with snooker?

And what on earth is ‘proof by chocolate’?

Whether you have anxious memories of the subject from school, or solve quadratic equations for fun, David Acheson’s new book will make you look at mathematics afresh, conjuring up the magic of maths.

Using quirky everyday examples, The Spirit of Mathematics highlights the power of algebra. Acheson crystallizes what’s so special about mathematics: the pure delight of discovery; the importance of proof; and the joy of contemplating an elegant solution.

Drawing on historical sources, puzzles, and arithmetical tricks, Acheson’s enthusiasm is infectious, and, as ever, a sense of quirkiness and fun pervades.

Focuses on the power of algebra, which enables the elegant expression of generalized statements about relations between quantities as mathematical formulae

Delights in the beauty of simple equations and mathematical proofs, highlighting the close connections between algebra and geometry

Uses quirky and everyday examples, from competitive bath filling to cutting up chocolate, to demonstrate mathematical concepts

Draws on historical sources, puzzles, and arithmetical tricks to bring out the magic of mathematics

David Acheson is Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and was the University’s first winner of a National Teaching Fellowship in 2004. He was President of the Mathematical Association from 2010 to 2011, and now lectures widely on mathematics to young people and the general public. In 2013, Acheson was awarded an Honorary D.Sc. by the University of East Anglia for his outstanding work in the popularization of mathematics. His books include 1089 and All That (OUP, 2002), The Calculus Story, (OUP, 2017), and The Wonder Book of Geometry, (OUP, 2020).

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